Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Tuesday, September 15, 2020


Vincent Price made his television debut on Robert Montgomery Presents in this adaptation of Keith Winter's 1935 play The Ringmaster, in the role of Peter Hammond, a former stage actor who suffered a crippling injury early in his career.  Now he owns and runs a British seaside inn, Red Roof, where he tries to manipulate the lives of his wife (Anna Lee) and guests -- with disastrous results.  Also in the cast are Robert Coote, John Merivale, Sarah Burton, Adrienne Corri, Betty Sinclair, Mary Lou Taylor, and Stuart Burge.

The program was produced by Montgomery and directed by Vincent J. Donahue, from an adaptation of Winter's play by Alvin Sapinsley.

Robert Montgomery Presents, an anthology show, ran from January 30, 1950 to June 24, 1957 -- a total of  317 episodes.  Between October 1950 and March 1951, the show alternated with Musical Comedy Time, after which it alternated with Somerset Maugham TV Theater through December 1951.  The program has been known by several titles, including Lucky Strike Theater, Montgomery's Summer Stock, and The Robert Montgomery Summer Theater.  When "The Ringmaster" aired, the program had the clumsy title Robert Montgomery Presents The Johnson's Wax Program (guess who was the sponsor then?).

The author of the source play, Keith Winter (1906-1983), was best known for his 1933 Broadway play The Rats of Norway.  The following year he wrote The Shining Hour, which was made into a film in 1938, then televised in at least four different versions in the 1950s.  He also wrote the screenplay for Above Suspicion (1943) and contributed to The Red Shoes (1948).

Enjoy this blast from the past.

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